Kate McCann says couple miss Madeleine 'every second'

Martin Brunt, Crime Correspondent

A letter from Madeleine McCann's mother has been read out during a church service in the seaside village where she vanished ten years ago.

The church was where Madeleine's parents were comforted by locals and expats in the days after their daughter's disappearance in Praia da Luz.

Susan Hubbard, wife of the church's former Anglican priest Father Haynes Hubbard, read the letter as around 40 people held lighted candles during the service at the Luz church.

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It said: "Ten years without Madeleine. If I'd let that thought even enter my head back in a May 2007, I wouldn't have lasted another day.

"And now, a decade on, it is still inconceivable. How can it be? Our little girl who brought us the gift of parenthood. Ten years on. We miss her every second.

"We are especially grateful to our friends and supporters in Luz for being strong enough and brave enough to keep Madeleine and our family in your prayers and in your hearts.

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"Your love and compassion has given us fortitude over the years and sustained our hope in immeasurable amounts."

The letter was signed "Kate, Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie - and all our family."

Kate and Gerry McCann attended another service back in Rothley, Leicestershire.

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Around a hundred adults and children, some clutching yellow flowers, packed into the parish church of St Mary and St John.

Reverend Rob Gladstone told the congregation: "We gather this evening to pray for Madeleine and other missing children, to encourage one another and especially Gerry and Kate in faith and hope, strength, perseverance and courage."

In Praia da Luz, a teddy bear, a burning candle and a flowering plant with a simple message, "Gone but not forgotten", were among tributes left at the church door.

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A home-made card with a picture of Madeleine was left by holidaymaker Karen Booth, from Nottingham.

She and her partner Carlos had booked a week's holiday to coincide with the 10th anniversary.

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She said: "I needed to be here because I feel strongly about Madeleine and what happened to her.

"It means a lot, especially because I have a 15-year-old daughter not much older than Madeleine would be today.

"I particularly wanted to be here because I knew the McCanns wouldn't be here and it was Important for others to care."

The service started at 9pm, an hour before Madeleine's mother Kate McCann discovered her bed empty in the family's rented holiday apartment on 3 May, 2007.